January 26, 2023: Melanie Krause (Universität Leipzig)
Headwind or Tailwind at the Ballot Box? The Local Effect of Wind Turbines on Green Party Support
Whether pro-climate parties win or lose at the ballot box in an area where wind turbines were built is a matter of debate. Some of the sparse literature on this relationship finds negative effects often interpreted as NIMBY behavior and concerns about noise and the visual intrusion of the landscape. Other studies highlight the economic benefits and habituation effects. We contribute by exploiting new fine-grained data on the position of wind turbines in Germany and more robust econometric methods. Crucially, we measure the visibility of wind turbines from settlements. We estimate the change in voting behavior within the last seven national election periods for the German Green Party in municipalities after the first visible wind turbine was constructed. During most periods, there is no statistically significant effect of visible wind turbines on Green party vote share, suggesting that voters do not punish the party. Yet, this seems to be changing in the 2021 election period because of various political and energy-related reasons.